Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

May 24, 2024 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

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Here's the recipe for Black Sesame Bread, sourdough version. I used my favorite Sweet Stiff Starter.  For the instant yeast version, please click "Black Sesame Bread" for the recipe.

Soft and fluffy black sesame bread is light and airy, with a tender texture.  It has a rich, deep color thanks to the black sesame seeds, which lend a nutty and slightly sweet flavor with a hint of earthiness. The bread is moist and springy, bouncing back when gently pressed. Each bite combines the delicate softness of well-risen bread with the distinctive taste of black sesame, making it a delightful and satisfying treat.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

Yields:  1 loaf


Sweet Stiff Starter:
50g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak to get better result. 
150g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
70g water
25g sugar (I used organic light brown sugar)

Main Dough:
155g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour), cold
All stiff starter (above)
45g black sesame seed (toasted and blended till fine)
20g light brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar), please add more sugar if you prefer sweet bread
1 tsp salt (5.5g)
55g milk, cold (reserve 10g and add in later if needed)  I used 55g *
30g whipping cream, cold 
45g cold egg, whisked (from 1 medium egg), balance use for egg wash
30g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash: (Optional)
Balance of whisked egg from the above + 1 Tbsp milk

450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

* Depends on your flour, because each flour absorbs liquid and hydrates differently. You may also add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time during kneading if the dough is too dry, when you see that the dough doesn't stick to the bottom at all.  We want the dough to clear from the sides of the bowl with only a small part of the bottom sticking to the base of the mixer bowl. You should hear a slapping sound of the dough hitting the sides of the mixer bowl. 

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
    3. You can choose to ferment the starter in a jar or in the mixing bowl. Keeping it in the bowl makes it simpler to take out later, though you'll have to judge its size visually once it peaks.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butte) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed #2 for about 2 - 3 minutes or until the dough comes together and elastic.  This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment,  add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes at low speed #2 or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.  
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for about 45 - 60 minutes.  Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 1 hour at 29C - 30C room temperature and the dough rose slightly.
  4. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured or slightly oiled surface then divide into 3 equal portions (about 225g per portion). Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  This recipe is good for buns too.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Rest for 10 minutes.
    3. Flatten with rolling pin.
    4. Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    5. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.   
  5. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof in a warm place until the dough reaches about 1 cm below the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 hours at room temperature of 29C - 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.  
  6. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 180C - 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C - 180C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes before baking.
    2. Brush with egg wash.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  If it is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with aluminium foil.
    4. Remove bread from oven then remove the bread from the pan.  Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread

Black Sesame Soft Sourdough Bread



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Thanks YL, for another great recipe! May I ask why the egg and cream need to be cold? If they are not, would it still be ok? Thanks 🤩 BlueWren

    1. You are most welcome :) To maintain the dough temperature during a long kneading process, achieve a fine crumb and prevent fast rising. It is best to use cold ingredients, mixture bowl and attachment. I also place my paddle and hook attachments in the freezer before using.

      It is ok if your ingredients are not cold. But, possible the bread crumb will be not so fine and the bread will rise faster.

      Cheers :)

  2. Instead of whipping cream what would be the substitute please ?

    1. Hi, you can substitute 30g of whipping cream with 20g of milk and 10g of butter. It means total milk is 75g and total butter is 40g.

      Remember not to add all milk at one time always reserve 10g and add in later if needed.

      You can also replace with evaporated milk.

      Cheers and happy baking :)


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